Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

* marvellous work amongst this people, even a marvellous work and a ? wonder,' &c. Isaiah xxix. 14. The whole history of Israel was marvellous ; in Egypt in the wilderness, in Canaan during their captivities, and in their excision; their dispersion among the nations was marvellous ; and may we not truly add, their preservation as a distinct and separated people, among all the nations of the earth, is at this hour a marvel! There is yet another and the greatest of all marvels to be fulfilled in them, when those who crucified the Son of God shall be heard exclaiming, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!

We have next set before us a renewal of those fundamental statutes which were peculiar to the old covenant, and which we have formeriy glanced at. The God of Israel says (ver. 14.) his name is jealous. This evidently refers to the nature of his connection with that people, which is always represented as a marriage covenant ; and in this view idolatry was adultery ; every approach to that sin would provoke him to jealousy. Jealousy always proceeds from love: “ because I loved

your fathers,' is always given as the source of the covenant made with them. Israel is therefore warned in this chapter against all intercourse or connection with the inhabitants of the land into which they were to go. Nor are these precepts useless to us.

An apostle of the Lord deemed it necessary to exhort new testament disciples, • Little children keep yourselves from idols;' and when another apostle tells us, that covetousness is idolatry,' we may readily see that we are at this day in equal danger with Israel of old. In like manner, we are commanded to keep ourselves unspotted from the world," not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed,' &c. Christians have therefore the utmost cause to be attentive, lest they too mingle 6 with the nations, and learn of them their ways.' In their worship, they have no fellowship with any but who appear to be of the truth, and belonging to the Israel of God: with these their hearts and souls are united and knit; and thus their charity is not the charity of the world, and they will be reproached by the world as very uncharitable. They doubtless must have an intercourse with the world, in the ordinary affairs of life, otherwise they must needs go out of the world; but they will be found keeping separate from those things which the law of God forbids ; as strangers and pilgrims abstaining from fleshly lusts, and passing the time of their sojourning here in fear. They will be leading quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty ; rendering to Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and to God the things which are God's. Conducted by the fear of God, they will put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; and in every thing make those ashamed who falsely accuse their good conversation in Christ.

The feasts, sapctification of the first born of man and beast, Sabbath day, and unmingled sacrifice, are again enjoined, and Moses commanded to write the precepts concerning them in the book of the co

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

venant. He was * forty days and nights with the Lord, who wrote again the ten commandments on the two tables of stone. As Moses returned from the mount, with the two tables in his hand, he wist not that the skin of his face shone, which, when Aaron and all Israel saw, they were afraid to come nigh to Moses. He therefore, divinely directed, put a vail over his face when they came nigh, and he rehearsed to them all that the Lord had given hiin in charge. When Moses went in before the Lord, he took off the vail ; but when he came out and spake to the people, it was put on his face. This shining of the face of Moses, and covering with the vail, are very remarkable circumstances, and much misunderstood.

The shining of the face of Moses, was an undoubted testimony to all who saw him, that he had been with God. When he first came down from the mount, his eyes sparkled with anger, and his face with fury ; now it reflects the beams of Divine Majesty. A ray of that glory which was on the top of the mount, and in the sight of all Israel like devouring fire, when the TEN WORDS were thundered from Sinai, now reflected on the face of Moses, when he came from the mount, with the tables of testimony in his hand. Among the other reflections brought against the apostle Paul, by those who questioned his authority as an apostle, it appears to have been none of the least weighty, that when Moses came down from the mount, the shining of his face gave irresistible testimony that he spake with authority from God, but Paul brought no visible proof of his ministry, ' his bodily • presence was weak, and his speech contemptible.' The apostle answers this charge at full length, in the 3d chapter of his 2d epistle to the Corinthians throughout : But,' says he, if the ministration • of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the • children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses, for • the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away; how • shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious ?” When Moses brought the tables of stone in his hard, he ministered death to them, for they could not endure that which was commanded.' It was the glory of God's justice in defence of his holy, just and good law ; a glory which assured all who saw it, that the soul which sinneth must die. This was the cause of that fear which they manifested, so that they would not come near bim. It brought their sins to their * remembrance, and thus the law wrought wrath, and ministered death,

* Moses was forty days and nights with the Lord on the mount, without eating bread, or drinking water, receiving God's law ; Elias, the restorer of that law, travelled forty days into the wilderness fasting; and Christ, the fulfiller of the law, fasted forty days, tempted of the devil. This remarkable coincidence of periods and circumstance, did not happen, nor is it recorded, without particular design by the Spirit of God. Our Lord's answer to Satan, is perhaps the best key for the purpose of explaining this : Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The great design of this law, which Moses spent forty days and nights in receiving, was to support the life of the Israel of God; hence Stephen says," he received the lively oracles to give

unto us."

to their guilty consciences. Had they, been able to have looked stedfastly to Moses, and heard the gracious word of eternal life which he had in charge to communicate to them, they would have found support to their mind, in the broadest view of their guilt ; and while the law he held in his hand condemned them, the words of mercy he their Mediator delivered to them would have supported them. But, beholding only the glory of the infinite justice, purity and holiness, their minds were blinded as to the design ; the gracious and merciful purpose for which their Mediator came to them from God; and they trembled. Moses therefore put a vail over his face, which pointed out two very remarkable things, 1st, The vail which is upon the gospel in the law of Moses ; and, 2dly, The vail which was on the heart of Israel of old, which continued in the days of the apostle, and which remains untaken away on the minds of many Gentiles, as well as Jews, in reading the Old Testament. As to the 1st, The ceremonies and ordinances of the Old Testament are merely a vail covering the glory of the face of Moses, which glory was finished in Christ, the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. In reading the Oid Testament, without attending to Christ Jesus the Lord, as the spirit of that law, Moses will appear vailed. This is the reason why so many consider the Old Testament of so little value: as dark and mysterious ; as having nothing glorious to attract or deserve our notice, they see not through the vail, the glory which is thus as it were covered up. Thus the church of old prayed, “ Open ( unvail) mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy ó law,' Psal. cxix. 18. There are wonilrous things indeed to be found in the law of Moses, when his face is unvailed ; but this can only be done by turning the things of that law to the Lord. The prophet, in the name of the Lord, remonstrates with the church, I have • written to Ephraim the great things of ny law, but they seemed • to him as strange things,' Hoseah viii. 12. When we enter the ta. bernacle of Moses, and behold the brazen altar smoking with the blood of bulls and goats, and the golden altar with costly perfumes, we see nothing but what appears to be weak and beggarly elements ;' but turn them to the Lord, withdraw the vail, and the blood of Christ, with his divine righteousness and intercession, appear conspicuously in view. But, 2dly, There was a vail on the heart in resisting the doctrine of Moses, even after the manifestation of the Son of God as the spirit of the law. It was this vail which prevented the Jews from beholding the divine glory of Jesus Christ himself; and thus le says, “ Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of 6 me.' Then Paul

says, · which pone of the princes of this world • knew ; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the • Lord of glory,' I Cor. ii. 8. There is no reason why the word of God is neglected and despised by one class, and perverted by ano. ther, but this, the vail remains on their heart untaken away. Opposed to this, the apostle says, " But we all, with unvailed face, behold. ing (the law of Moses) as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, change


the same image (viz. the ordinances of the law) from the glory whick was to be done away, to the glory of Christ which excelleth, by beholding the Lord as the spirit of the law,' 2 Cor. iii, 18.

Chap. XXXV.-In this and the five following chapters, we have an account of the execution of what was given in charge to Moses, and was then taken notice of. We shall therefore only slightly glance at any particulars not then attended to. It will be observed, that what Moses here receives in charge, though in many respects very similar, was not revealed on the mount, but delivered to Moses in the tabernacle. As formerly, the rest of the holy Sabbath is the first precept; on this subject the old testament church got line upon line, and precept upon precept, for the object was most important. The materials for the worldly sanctuary were given as free will offerings by the people. In like manner, the materials of the heavenly sanctuary are spoken of. Thy people shall be free will offerings in the day of thy power,' Psal. cx. 3. When Paul speaks of himself and the other apostles as the master builders in God's ta. bernacle, he thus expresses himself,' • Now, if any man build upon 6 this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, &c. God's tabernacle is composed of very costly and precious materials. They consisted of gold, silver, brass, blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats hair, rams skins dyed red, badgers skins, Sbittim wood, oil, spices, sweet incense, and onyx stones, which every man gave willingly with his heart to the Lord; of these was a sanctuary or tabernacle built for the Lord to dwell in. See Exod. xxv. 27. xxxv, 21. and xxxvi. 3. Of these the people brought with such liberality that Moses ordered them to stop.

Besides this, every man paid as a ransom for his soul half a she. kel, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, Exod. xxx. 11-16. which we find from the first numbering amounted to 301,775 talents of gold, equal to 350 tons weight of English standard. This we mention, to show of what immense riches the first tabernacle was composed. If it be inquired, how came the Israelitish bondmen to be possessed of such riches ? we must remind our readers of what is recorded, Exod. xii. 36. " And the Lord gave the people favour • in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them what • they required ; and they spoiled the Egyptians ;? so that the Psal. mist says, He brought them forth also with silver and gold,' &c. Psal. cv. 37.

Having mentioned the circumstance of the spoiling of the Egyptians, it will not be considered as foreign to our present purpose to men. rion, that inattention to the figurative nature, not only of the old testament ceremonies and worship, but also their history, has afforded the champions of infidelity much ground of boasting. With what exultation have the whole tribe of armed enemies to Revelation stolen one of their sharpest arrows from this part of scripture history, which, as they allege, gives unqualified sanction to the most atrocious dishonesty, were it truth ! How often has it been classed with the destruction of the Canaanitish nations, as hold. ing up a god of injustice, barbarity, and dishonesty! and however blasphemous this language undoubtedly is, it will not be easily answered, if we neglect to consider, that in the spoiling of the Egyptians, to furnish materials for the heavenly tabernacle, by the command of that God who gave existence to creation, he gave a remarkable figure of the manner in which he, who could raise up seed to AbraÞam of the very stones, will bring the glory and honour of the nations into the heavenly Jerusalem, Rev. xxi. 24. 'I gave Egypt • for thy ransom, since thou wast precious in my sight. I will

bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west,' Isa. xliii. 3-5. We shall only farther remark on this chapter, that from the 25th verse it appears that the women had a material share in the honour of constructing the tabernacle. This will remind the reader of the virtuous woman, of whom it is said, . She layeth her • hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff, Prov. xxxi. 19. In the apostles' days we read of women who • laboured in the • gospel, Phillip. iv. 3. or • laboured much in the Eord,' Romans xvi. 3. 6. and 12.

[ocr errors]

CAAP. XXXVI.-In this chapter, the most remarkable circumstances we meet with, is the forwardness of the people, and the superabundance which they contributed to the work, insomuch that Moses had to forbid them bringing more. Doubtless in


of them there appeared on this occasion, that willing mind, which is in the sight of God so precious. Paul bears testimony to a similar li. berality in his day, Phil. iv. 10--18. 2 Cor. viii. 4.

CHAP. XL.-Moses having blessed the people at the finishing of their work, he is commanded to set up the tabernacle on the first day of the first month. It is a remarkable circumstance, that as the world was six days in being completed at its creation, so the taberAacle appears to have been six months in preparing. Of this the reader may satisfy himself, by examining the times specified. Thus, on the fifteenth day of the first month, Israel came out of Egypt; on the fiftieth day thereafter, the law was given ; Moses was eighty days on the mount, and there are several intervening days mentioned; in all, the first six months were gone before the people began the work. But it is still more evident, that as the first day of the first month was appointed by God for setting up God's tabernacle, so, on the first day of the first month of the year of God's redeemed, « the tabernacle of God shall be with men.' It may not be improper in this place to anticipate the following dates, which may be use. ful to keep in mind as we proceed. Among the Jews, the months were regulated by the moon, as their years were by the sun. On this account, all the new moons, or.

first days of the month, were 30. lemn festivals unto Israel, Numbers xxviii. 11. 14. Psalm lxxxi. &

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »